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Author: suej

Joined: 8/8/2010
Posts: 1
GCT Trips Taken: 8
OAT Trips Taken: 3
Traveler Since: 2001

November 16, 2012

We have been on 8+ trips with GCT and this is one of the best!  It was educational, interesting and fun. Our program director, Magda, was terrific.  She introduced us to local products and was always there for us to answer questions or to help out. 

The only problem was that we went in late October and it was cold. Suggest taking this trip no later than September.

We also took the pre-trip to Berlin and the post-trip to Vienna and were glad we did.

 

 

 

 

Author: sealionlady

Joined: 8/1/2010
Posts: 131
GCT Trips Taken: 6
OAT Trips Taken: 7
Traveler Since: 2001

November 16, 2012

I am very interested in this trip and have a few questions:

How were the hotels .... quality and location?

What did you think of the optionals?  Were they worth it?

Were there many local guides or did Magda do the majority?

Thanks!

Author: pegheeter1

Joined: 6/28/2010
Posts: 22
GCT Trips Taken: 11
OAT Trips Taken: 2
Traveler Since: 2001

November 18, 2012

 I debated whether or not to reply to these questions or not, but since nobody else has - here goes!

This trip can be an outstanding one.  My husband and I have taken it twice, so you know we are sometime happy campers.  The first time we went was in 2001, shortly after 9/11.  That trip was absolutely outstanding - excellent guide, well spaced itinerary, good hotels and so on.  We did the "same" trip in 2011, and would say it was only so-so.  The itinerary was a bit different, the guide was basically inexperienced, the driver excellent (but had never driven this particular tour before and we wasted quite a bit of time as a result) and so on. We also happened to have a truly elderly bus. We felt that the guide, although enthusiastic, didn't has the knowledge to get the best local guides when she called ahead, and just didn't add much to the bare itinerary. That said, we aren't really sorry to have gone again, because we loved the areas and cities visited and had a chance to see them again.

Specifically, the Berlin extension was problematic in our judgment.  Berlin is a great city, and no matter how one sees it, that's basically fine.  But -- our last tour spent three days doing the sightseeing stuff one does, then, when the main tour came to join us, we had our "orientation" tour while en route to the train for Warsaw.  Fine, for the main tour only folks, but a waste of time for the pre-trip group, we thought.  Some people didn't like the Berlin hotel, as it's location is a rather long walk from sights.  We thought it was okay.

One thought - nothing directly to do with GCT.  We happened to arrive during the Easter holiday which, in Europe, tends to be a ten day or so event, thus adding lots and lots of people to all the cities and, of course, sites such as Auschwitz.

I know you may think we just should have let the memories of our first trip rest in peace, but we have taken other  trips more than once and had wonderful, if different, experiences.  So -hope you enjoy whatever you choose to do.

 

 

Author: judylee

Joined: 8/19/2011
Posts: 15
GCT Trips Taken: 15
OAT Trips Taken: 0
Traveler Since: 2000

November 18, 2012

We did this trip 5-6 years ago & truly enjoyed it.  We traveled at Eastertime and on Holy Saturday while visiting a church  in Warsaw I fell and broke my shoulder, our PD Helena was outstanding.  I was taken by ambulance to an orthopedic clinic ( fractured shoulders are treated differently in Poland than in the states).  Helena took the remainder of the group to her home.  She had made arrangements for my to fly home, instead I chose to stay and enjoyed everything about the remainder of the tour.  GCT went out of their way to accomodate me, I kept pace with everyone.  We had Tripmate insurance & when time to leave they flew us home 1st class.  We tremendously enjoyed the horse show in Hungary don't miss the concentration  camps, the scenery was beautiful & even had snow while there.  I remember nothing negative about the hotels or meals, in fact the horel in Warsaw had a nice lounge in the room which was wonder ful as I was in a cast from my shoulder to my waist.  Not sure if all the hotels are the same or the sightseeing or optionals, I would do this trip again in a heartbeat.

Author: goldlizsts

Joined: 11/21/2012
Posts: 1
GCT Trips Taken: 2
OAT Trips Taken: 3
Traveler Since: 2004

November 21, 2012

GCT or OAT programs are generally good values, and they're usually well-executed.  I did the itinerary early Sept.  Being from the NYC area, the weather was just perfect, cool, tho a couple of days we were a bit "chilled", but nothing I couldn't handle (being thick-skinned by now).  That said, I personally believe that some of the destinations were not thrills to me, esp. those side trips.  Couple of examples:  Zacopane.  I just felt it's a very touristic place.  We descended on the quaint town center, wandered around, since it's mostly shopping.  It's a very attractive winter skiing destination, unquestionable about it.  But... I didn't feel that it was a very rewarding option.  Another one is the (whatever you call it?) conference town, where Churchill, et al met..... Well, for a die-hard history buff, it may be worthwhile.  But... I didn't feel the money was well-spent.  Ah, the Chopin recital.  It was a Chopin competition winner.  I wasn't overly impressed.  The recital room, acoustically there are some deficiencies.  I initially was up closer, like the 4th row.  The sound there was not good, as acoustically the venue was not good at certain locations I guess.  I then moved to the rear, and the sound came out much more even.  The artist?  She may be the tops; but I just didn't feel attracted too deeply into the performance.  Somehow, I thought she was pounding away a little.  One thing I'd like to suggest though - the audience (US, that is!) should be given some mingling time with the artist, either before the recital (well, that may impact their concentration!?), or afterwards.  We just had the feel of zoom-in, zoom-out!!!!!!!!!!

Our program director, Daniel Tarr, was very competent, as usual.  The group in general was friendly.

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